Two Jack Russell dogs maul deer

The attack happened in a field near Blackford Glen Road. Picture: Gordon Fraser

The attack happened in a field near Blackford Glen Road. Picture: Gordon Fraser

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Police and animal welfare inspectors are on the hunt for the owner of two small dogs who mauled a deer so badly that it had to be put down.

Scottish SPCA officers said chunks of muscle were ripped from the hind legs of the deer, which was found in “severe pain” following the vicious attack on Tuesday morning.

The incident, which took place in a field near Blackford Glen Road beside Craigmillar Park Golf Course at 9am, saw the two Jack Russell Terriers snap and bite at the deer while they were let off their leads.

Passers-by alerted animal welfare chiefs who were forced to put the deer to sleep by lethal injection.

Animal rescue officer Fiona Thorburn said the deer had been in a “terrible state” when she arrived on the scene, and insisted it was “extremely worrying” the dogs had been able to carry out the attack.

She said: “The bite marks were awful and you could see the muscle had been ripped off her back legs. Sadly, the deer was in severe pain and wouldn’t have recovered, so the most humane thing to do was to put her to sleep.

“Passers-by described the dogs as two Jack Russell types who were off their leads. It could be that they were being walked by their owner who lost control of them.

“Unfortunately we have been unable to trace the owner but we are hopeful someone in the area may have information. We always advise dog walkers to take extra care when they are in areas with wildlife.

“In this instance, an animal has lost its life because these dogs were not under their owner’s control.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers are appealing for anyone who saw the dogs and their owners to contact Police Scotland on 101.

“We would also like to respectfully remind the public that dogs should always be kept on leads in areas with wildlife or livestock.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com